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I Forge Iron

What did you do in the shop today?

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4 days off for Thanksgiving and I managed to get 2.5 hours in the smithy!   Of course that will be paid for as the appliance buying we were supposed to do Sunday after church was pushed off down the road. (At least my wife was able to order the new stove by phone as they didn't have one at the big box store.) 

Wednesday I got off at Lunch and drove to Las Cruces to pick up my Mother, 2+ hours each way. Got home at dark. Wednesday night we had 6" of heavy wet snow and so I spent Thursday morning shoveling so we could go to the Thanksgiving lunch at Church that we do for Students at the University and others who are not with family. Got home at dark.  Friday we went to Albuquerque to see our Daughter that wasn't able to make it down due to snow.  Got home at dark.  Saturday I took my mother back to Las Cruces. Got home at dark.   Sunday after church and buying the stove by phone I got to sneak out to the shop and forge till it got dark.

Anyway I was able to make a simple coat hook for my office door. Door had a couple of screws already in it so I forged a RR spike down to about 1/4" thick---using a fuller to squish it longer not wider and bend it around and flattened a spot for the hole---which I punched with my whitney punch.  (Handy item for a non-powered shop!) Put a strip of tape on the back of the hook to protect the door and it's ready for winter!

I also worked on an odd billet.  I found this hunk with a bunch of RR steel at the scrapyard so it probably was from the RR tracks.  It looked like a bunch of thin layers of steel pushed up in a lump. I thought it might be interesting to try to weld it up into a billet.  Very stiff under the hammer.  Hard to weld and shape it!   Mainly plain borax for flux and a lot of it as it was so very un smooth to start with.  Looks to have a good weld on it and now to shape it into a proper billet.

This is what it started as:


Any ideas to what it was/might have been/Alloy?

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Not sure what picture you are looking at.....sorry

1 hour ago, Owen Hinsman said:

I know I'm a year or so late, but did you do those eye sockets with just a ball punch or a specially made one?


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When I was a kid, 4-5 years old, my dad was stationed at Ft. Riley, Ks. We rented a house in Milford, As we were being transferred the town was being moved to build a lake. I rode with my dad to watch a douser walk the new town site, with a forked stick, to determine where to drill the town well. Don’t know if he was right because we shipped out before it was drilled. I’ve been working for a gas utility company for 36 years, some employees are great at dousing, I’m not, give me the modern equipment! (Might have too much iron in my blood from 50 years welding)

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I agree with the others, looks like something that was molten, probably the remnants of a thermite weld.

Anyways, got the chance to do some forging this weekend and knocked out a new pair of flat jaw tongs. I tried a couple of new things this time around such as rounding the reins and bending the end of them. I have been trying to make better and more refined tongs, these are definitely on that road. The next ones will be some scrolling tongs. I also forged out a herb chopper from some extra 1095, unfortunately I do not have any pictures of the chopper.1077266513_IMG_18601.thumb.JPG.8441347ee8cfd632438b7ec0a46f07eb.JPGIMG_1861.thumb.JPG.ee59bbbd76c9a8c1e6c4bbcadcb3ca1f.JPG

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Well it's composed of a lot of thin layers of steel and I was able to forge weld it into a solid mass. So I don't think it is slag. When I get it down into a rectangular bar I'll spark test it. I'll also try to remember to hand it around at the NM Artist Blacksmith Meeting in Albq this Saturday.  Good practice for Bloom consolidation.

The picture is what my camera does; some of the old folks remember when I never posted any pictures...I took some flack for that and now I'm getting it for my pics not being good enough.  Back to plan 1!  (My old phone worked quite well when doing Trip Vouchers where they wanted me to photograph all the receipts; but didn't want to supply me a camera...I'd keep the receipts around for a year of so in case my boss ever want to check what they actually said...)

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Boy little sensitive about photo's much..  :)   come on, you can do it.  Just fancy cheerleading squad. 

We are not complaining about the photo's. Just asking for some better ones.  Hard to see details when there on none. 

If I responded to every suggest about doing something better or differently with "Well I just won't do it at all".   What does that say or tell the next generation. 

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Yes I've taken a lot of ribbing over photos here over the years.  And my phone does not take better pictures! It doesn't do "apps" either even GPS.  I don't *want* to do it.  So I can go back to typing out long descriptions. At least they may survive the next upgrade...let's see where did I put those clay tablets and my pointed reed....?

I was told last January that my phone would stop working when they went to 5G and I'm looking to get one that will suit myself; but I haven't found one yet that will have a physical keyboard and not be overwhelmed with stuff I don't want at the expense of sharing my personal data with people I do not feel should know it.

What does it say to the next generation?  It says that some folks do not believe that everyone should be tied to the latest technology.  New is not always "better"; folks should have a right to use the technology they find appropriate.  This belief is held by at least some of the folks that blacksmith.  Are you planning to only use an induction forge in your new shop? What does that say to the next generation?

I work in IT, I'm on an insulin pump; so I'm not a total luddite; I just don't want to be sold to folks trying to make money off me; or believe that the more time I spend looking at a small screen on my phone the better.  Shoot I don't even want my grocery store to track my purchases! 

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We get to a certain age and it becomes I can do what ever I want.   that right is part of getting old.   But, I often find in the youngers that they to exude the same type of behavior of.  " I don't like it so I won't do it".. 

I had to have a rather long conversation with a millennial about work ethics and pride in one's work even when that work is a crappy job to do..  Any job is worth doing a good job on because of taking ones own pride in the work and when finished looking back at it with such pride. 

We were moving and splitting wood which he volunteered to do,  LOL..     He moved 2 wheelbarrows and then I noticed his expression changed and instead of moving pieces he spent more time staring at them and kicking them.   That is when I gave him the lecture..  I couldn't handle it any longer of the moping so called it a day. 

I guess he had time to think about it and a few days later he calls and asks if I was working and if he could come over. to help.  I said sure..   Anyhow, he showed up with a new lease on the job and both was pleasant to work with and he did a great job.  I asked him what happened and he said..  He thought about what we talked about and he agreed so all he had to do was change his mind. 

If you want to post photo's at any given quality then so be it. But posting photo's of something I can't even see or make out well then.. So be it. 

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For Christmas i am making my mom a kitchen knife. Got the handle put on today. Zebra wood with raw hide filler. I like the raw hide in there. I was using balsa wood or something similar, the raw hide is much easier to work with.


Now for shaping it. 

Got my "raindrop damascus" out of the etch. 24 hrs + in vinegar and salt. May do coffee to get it to pop just a bit more. 


Pretty happy with the way the pattern turned out. 

Next is the handle and sharpening. The top thumb groove was not supposed to be there. Had  a small delam so i figured "hey i got a new welder lets weld it up." Well i should have paid attention and turned it down. Ends up 70amps blew out more than what i welded in. Oh well its a little thin at that point but it is for my dad and it will most likely spend its life with him on a shelf somewhere. 


One of these days i may just make a really nice knife. I just really really hate the grinding. Welding up the billet is a blast to do. Same with the drawing out and shaping, but man that grinding is just so tedious. 

Also did a few other little things. Straightened some spring stock, started a new fire rake etc., pretty productive day all in all. 

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That Damascus looks nice Billy. 
I was able to do some forging on Saturday and made a fire rake (with a forge-welded handle), a shovel, and a poker. Figure it’ll go nicely with my new firepot that I got from the Nea England Blacksmiths. 
Plus a picture of the most adorable dog ever, the honourable Otter.






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12 hours ago, Owen Hinsman said:

I was able to do some forging on Saturday and made a fire rake (with a forge-welded handle), a shovel, and a poker. Figure it’ll go nicely with my new fire pot 

Nice. That handle looks a lot like the ones we did last year at the NEB work meet.  Were you able to get in on it? 

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